The Contemplatives of the Women’s March

We need powerful women’s voices now more than ever. As an artist, I feel that my voice can be heard best if I express myself visually, using images instead of words. I felt compelled to celebrate the women who are speaking up and fighting for the rights of women—and all people, as women’s rights are human rights. I began creating small, handcrafted tiny monuments, or tributes, to these women in the midst of this dark and oppressive administration.

“The Contemplatives” began in 2017 as a way for me to explore the body as sculptural object. These forms—which reference such ubiquitous cultural icons as totems, talisman, idols and statuary—take personages from the past and the present and condense their spirit into three-dimensional pieces, created at an intimate scale, utilizing processes traditionally associated with “women’s work.”

These handmade objects, recombinations of fabrics from different sources, are crafted within a tradition of quilting, sewing and other textile work. It is this highly personal technique which imbues them with their individuality.

These figures become embodiments of people and cultures both past and present. They are fetish objects intended to emanate spirit of power, boldness, courage, peace—the attributes that all of us seek to find within ourselves. Within this larger endeavor is a unique collection of figures devoted to the luminaries of the women’s movement, tribute pieces women who are themselves personifications of bravery, boldness and courage. These are small monuments to women making a monumental difference at a pivotal moment in our country’s history.

This series builds on a larger project—my ongoing series of collages entitled “The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings,” which has been exploring similar territory since 2015.  




Johanna Goodman is an artist based in New York City. She graduated from Parsons School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 1992 and has been a freelance illustrator ever since. Her work has garnered awards from The Society of Publication Design, American Illustration and Communication Arts. Her clients include the Sidney Hillman Foundation, The Paley Center for Media, Le Monde, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Bust, New York Magazine and Smithsonian Magazine, among many others.